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Canon GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old September 18th, 2003, 07:13 AM   #46
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Shooting in 16:9 or 4:3

Im making a film that I hope will be shown in film festivals as well as on television. My question is this is, it better to film in the 16:9 format or the 4:3 format. I had read somewhere that this could be dealt with in the editing process but I dont know. Maybe some one can help me with this. This is my first film with a DV camera. I hope it is clear what Im talking about.
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Old September 18th, 2003, 07:23 AM   #47
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Yes Crystal it's quite clear. Creating 16:9 in post is usually done by adding black bars as a matte on the top and bottom of the image. This creates the effect of 16:9 on a 4:3 TV without any loss of resolution. The way it's done in camera varies, some cameras crop others squeeze and stretch. The Canons use the squeeze/stretch method which results in a slight loss of resolution. If you do a search on '16:9' or 'widescreen' you will find quite a number of threads that discuss this topic.
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Old September 18th, 2003, 08:49 AM   #48
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Hi Crystal,

16x9 in post is a double edged sword. By placing a black matte on top an bottom of your footage, you are cutting 25% of resolution. However, this gives you a lot of flexability as far as framing and composition goes.

Sometimes cameras have an option for 16x9 format, but you need to investigate what it is actually offering. Some cameras (like Canon's) digitally stretch the image and save to tape. Some cameras just put the black bars on top and bottom and leave it at that. Some cameras, however, actually have more pixals on the ccd that can capture true 16x9. Your best bet for 16x9 is an anamorphic adapter that mounts on your camera, but since these cost $800+ dollars, this is not a feasable solution for most people.

I have two Canon's, a GL2 (primary camera) and a ZR20 (secondary camera), both offer the digital stretching option. When I need the 16x9 format, I will use this option. You might say "Whats the point? You still lose 25% of your image." Well, that's kind of true, but let me explain: If you just crop your video in post, you truely loose 25% of the image. If you shoot in anamorphic most where the image is digitally streched, the image is saved to tape in that format, which leaves more video information available on the tape. This results in a crisper image because those bits that would've been used for the whole image are now used for the stretched video.

Adam Wilt gives a really good treatment on the 16x9 vs 4x3 controversy. You should read his article at:

http://www.adamwilt.com/DV-FAQ-etc.html#widescreen

to get a better feel for this subject. This will allow you to make your own informed discision on this topic. Hope this helps.

Cheers,
Mark
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Old September 18th, 2003, 01:28 PM   #49
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I also prefer the in-camera 16:9 with the GL2. The interpolations done in camera are a little better quality than I have been able to accomplish when cropping and resampling vertically back out to 16:9 in post. That isn't to say that I haven't had that one take which would have been perfect if the camera operator would have framed it a little higher or lower. 4:3 cropped in post would have fixed those issues.
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Old September 18th, 2003, 02:55 PM   #50
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I asked to be pointed towards the threads that covered this, as I was having trouble finding them on my own. I guess I'll jump on this one!

I'm experimenting with the 16:9 on my GL1. My desired result, is true widescreen, not a black bars cheat. Using Premiere offers 16:9 as an option. In the program, it looks right. However, when it goes to my external monitor or tape, it is squished. Where is my problem coming from?
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Old September 18th, 2003, 03:29 PM   #51
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Keith,

Does your external monitor have a 16:9 switch? If its a 4:3 then it will be squished.

I master off my 16:9 footage (XL1S) and make separate copies for 4:3 (resized 75% and letterboxed at 1:85) Television and 16:9.

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Old September 18th, 2003, 04:57 PM   #52
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The thing is, it shows 16:9 movies in letterbox, but not mine. Mine are squished, so I must not be doing something right?
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Old September 18th, 2003, 06:36 PM   #53
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Keith, if you're watching on a 4:3 TV set, you'll have to create a separate 4:3 video with letterboxes. If you have an HDTV (16:9) set, you can see the 16:9 video full-screen by choosing the widescreen setting.

DVDs that are "anamorphic 16x9" or "enhanced for widescreen TVs" send a signal to your DVD player and/or TV that will display the movie in whichever aspect ratio your TV supports. You might be able to encode this kind of signal into your own DVDs, although I don't know how...
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Old September 18th, 2003, 07:47 PM   #54
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Any idea what that encoding is called? That is probably the critter I'm looking for. Is it even possible in Premiere, or is it a "specialty" thing?

I really want 16:9, because I may screen this at a local theater. Somehow, I don't think letterbox would look right on a theater screen.
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Old September 19th, 2003, 05:46 AM   #55
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I'm sure the signal is called WSS and is recorded by the camcorder to the tape itself. The GL2 supports this and when you select to record in 16:9 I believe it supplies the WSS signal as well. I'm not sure so don't rely on this bit, but this information may be stored in the 8(?) pixel area that non-optical image stabilisers use for the DIS information.
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Old September 19th, 2003, 06:01 AM   #56
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Also, aren't theatre screens 2.35:1?
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Old September 19th, 2003, 07:05 AM   #57
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I'm not sure exactly what the size/ratio is, but I am sure that these screens aren't full width. This is a twin cinema, and the screens were cut down a bit. But that was a very good point.
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Old November 29th, 2003, 01:30 PM   #58
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16:9 GL2 question

I was told by my camera salesman that if I set my GL2 to 16:9 and record , it will play back on my regular television in wide screen format with black bars top and bottom.
This does not happen ??
Is my salesman wrong or am I doing something wrong??
Please help
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Old November 29th, 2003, 01:37 PM   #59
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Your salesman was wrong; 16:9 footage appears squished on a 4:3 TV set.
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Old December 1st, 2003, 10:08 PM   #60
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However, it's very easy to make your own letterbox 16x9 with the black bars, right in the camera, so that it plays back just like what you're looking for. This trick isn't in the manual, but it's described in detail on our GL2 Son of Watchdog site. Maybe the salesman saw our site and that's what he was thinking about. Hope this helps,
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